Six Steps to Take when Beneficiaries of a California Trust Are Missing

One duty of a trustee during a California trust administration is to provide proper notice to the trust beneficiaries. Unfortunately, however, these beneficiaries are not always easily located. Sometimes, the trust was created many years before the grantor’s passing, and the location of the beneficiary has since changed. What happens if you, as a trustee, cannot find a beneficiary of the trust? Fortunately, an experienced Anaheim trust lawyer can assist you in taking the proper steps to ensure that you are not subject to any liability relating to the notice requirements and the missing beneficiary.

For trustees searching for missing beneficiaries, many options are available. The following are several examples of actions that you can take to attempt to find a missing beneficiary:

  • Hire a knowledgeable Anaheim trust attorney who can help guide you through the process of finding all of the beneficiaries.
  • Consider hiring a private investigator to locate the missing beneficiary.
  • Consult with the other beneficiaries of the trust who might have information about the location of the beneficiary.
  • Attempt to find an address or phone number for the individual by conducting an online search.
  • Consider checking the Social Security decedent’s index for an indication that the beneficiary is deceased.
  • Consider getting the probate court involved with your search.

When faced with the problem of locating missing beneficiaries during a California trust administration, it is important not to attempt to go it alone. For more information about how a revocable trust works and determining who the beneficiaries are, view our free DVD, Understanding the Revocable Living Trust – In Language that Anyone Can Understand in 8 Minutes. Our office of experienced Anaheim trust attorneys offers additional information and guidance through the trust and estate administration process. Call our office today at (714) 459-5481 for a consultation.

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm